Working from home has been merely a pipe dream for most of us until March 23rd when Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his historic address in which he asked us to ramp up our social distancing efforts, stay home and shut up shop.
All of a sudden the rose-tinted view we had of the two-minute commute to work became reality. We had to get used to the notion of staying indoors and taking our lunch break in our kitchens. There have been highs and lows but one thing is for sure – it takes a lot of self-discipline to scrub up and dress down in a stylish way.
I have noticed that it is all too easy to slope over to your desk to check early morning emails and then stay there for hours wearing your pyjamas and slippers. Even a late entry in your home office after a Yoga session on the living room floor may have left you with little enthusiasm for changing out of your crop top and leggings. Some of you may have even tried to compress the two outfits in order to do your morning salutations in your jim-jams.
Well what’s the point, I hear you say. Who is going to see me? Why bother. Who cares.
Dress for success, even working from home
The answer is two-fold. I frequently conduct media training – some of which involves coaching executives on how to do broadcast interviews from home. I always start by telling them to dress well. Not too formally but enough to make you feel business like. I have a clear memory of doing what was supposed to be a five minute two-way for a US network from Jakarta which turned into a 45-minute insertion into the channel’s main current affairs programme. The Foreign Editor had woken me at 6.00pm in the morning – my time – and I had no choice but to do the whole interview stark naked from my bed. It was not a comfortable experience. Secondly, I am a big believer in the power of looking good in order to feel good. It is all about maintaining self-esteem. Here’s what I do.
- Always choose an outfit the night before
- Do your hair in a neat and simple style
- Wear make-up even if it is only minimal
- Find clothes that are comfortable but also stylish
Here are the essential items I think work as we all get used to the new normal of WAH.
- White/nude trainers
- Navy wide-leg pants
- Faux leather leggings
- A white shirt
- A nude/grey ribbed sweater
- Fine gauge navy sweaters.
Keep to these pieces and do as I did – put the rest into storage. Keep some statement jewellery to one side (just in case) and then concentrate on strategies to help your family, maintain your business and – above all – support the NHS by staying put.